In a recent article, I shared about the revelation that I am an auditory voyeur, which I defined as the experience of feeling pleasure (even orgasmically) when I have heard others enjoying sensual delights.
Sometimes walls are thin.
As I thought further about it, the origin harkens back to a night during my freshman year in college. I had already fallen asleep when I was awakened by the sound across the small dorm room of my roommate engaged in a romp with her boyfriend.
Embarrassed to admit that I heard their activities, I feigned slumber—except my body was nowhere near asleep. For a while afterward, it was fodder for fantasy.
We experience pleasure from three perspectives:
1. Anticipation of it. Think about something that really excites you and dive into the adrenalin-infused, butterflies in the stomach dancing, oh yes! reverbing through you. Breathe into it.
2. The actual experience. Be fully present to it, keeping those lovely senses alive to it all. When with a lover, refrain from thinking about everything on your to-do list, while this person’s body is enwrapped and enraptured with yours.
3. In memory. All it takes to evoke the feelings is to mindfully recall them. Like magic, your body’s innumerable pleasure receptors will help you to experience waves crashing on shore again and again—kind of like mental multiple orgasm.
Imagination is the most powerful aphrodisiac. Use it freely as you conjure up delicious desires that you would like to play out. Like any muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes.
Relinquish the idea of “guilty pleasures” and instead just allow for them as simply “pleasures.” My take on it is that as long as it harms no one, all’s fair. There are times when I have reminded myself that what labeled me a “good girl” had me missing out on a whole lot of enjoyment. These days, I give myself permission to at least begin to cast aside self-imposed, what-will-people-think hesitations in favor of living fully expressed.
In conversation with a friend who knows my journey well, I was sharing about the evolution of the concepts in the original article. We were musing about the possibility that voyeurism is about both relational and learning styles. Some people are auditory learners, some visual, some kinesthetic.
He observed that when viewed as a learning style, we have little difficulty acknowledging the role of our senses. It is when we are in the sexual realm that people sometimes get their panties in a twist (not in a good way).
What if we simply saw voyeurism as one point along the spectrum of life and relationship orientations, rather than automatically labeling it as pathological?
As a clinician who has worked in the recovery field for a few decades, I define addiction and pathology as what makes life unmanageable or causes harm to oneself or another. I’m not referring to invading someone else’s privacy or crossing boundaries in order to get off emotionally or sexually. What I am talking about is expanding the possibilities within one’s chosen reality.
I place my red polished pedicured toes on the other side of the line as well, since loving being center stage and in the spotlight could be seen as a form of exhibitionism. I really do enjoy being witnessed, seen and accepted as is. I thrive on the attention, as do many creative types. Sometimes I would admit to even craving it.
I have heard it said that a voyeur needs an exhibitionist to satisfy his or her needs and vice versa.
How about if they are both in the same package?
Author: Edie Weinstein
Editor: Toby Israel